The New Era

In a world where anything can happen, one teenager, Jonathan Stormcrow, has a life that starts out with what is normal to him. High School. Two best friends that he would never give up for anything. And parents that give their everything, including their free time, to pay for bills and give John the best life they can provide for him. But when his parents die in a tragic accident, his fate takes a turn that will change his life forever.

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3. Recruitment

I woke up the next day, surprisingly well rested and left to stare up at the dark gray ceiling with white streaks of light cast upon it from the light shining through the iron bars. The cushioned bed was soft against my back, and definitely better than the beds in Julian’s house. For once I was able to sit up and not feel like my back was a chunk of ice about to shatter with fast movements. Matt was sitting at the desk across from me talking to someone on the phone at the office desk across from me desk. Behind it was the exit for the building that was placed behind the guard’s desk and currently behind Matt. As soon as he got off the phone he noticed me awake.

 

“Hey, you’re up,” he said, turning the velcro office chair towards me.

 

Yeah,” I replied, rubbing my tired eyes which were still adjusting to the white light, “What time is it?”

 

Matt looked at the bottom corner of his laptop he used for when he had time to kill during his shifts, “7:43. Wait… that can’t be right,” he said, confused and looking down at his watch.

 

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

 

“That was the time when I started my call with Janice, my wife. And it was at least a ten minute call,” he said, checking his phone for the time but it was then that the lights in the hallway were flickering like crazy until they slowed down to a few light flickers every now and then.

 

“A minor electrical malfunction. It should be gone by the time I leave,” said a man from down the hall who must have just popped up around the hallway corner.

 

I stood up from the prison bed and tried to look through the bars to see him, but he was too far down I couldn’t see him. It was a good thing I was the only inmate here so far or the others might be going insane trying to yell at the man to let them out. The man slowly started walking down the hallway. The heels of his shoes clapping loudly on the floor with another occasional click that tapped on the floor between his footsteps. Eventually he walked into view and the very sight of him managed to strike fear into me. As though looking at him burned my eyes and made me want to look down as he passed by. But that didn’t stop me from see who he was. He was a tall and firm man who seemed to be in his late sixties or so. He wore black leather shoes, black suit pants and a black leather trenchcoat buttoned all the way up with his collar folded down. His skin was shaded like wet sand and hair like ash. But the most unusual part of the man was his rough voice, and his black cane as tall as his waist with a crystal handle shaped like a skull with its jaw wide open.

 

“Hello Johnny,” he said when he reached my cell.

 

“Sir, who are you and what are you doing here?” Matt asked, looking up at him with a look of caution in his eyes.

 

“I’m from a private military organization here recruitment. The rest of the information is classified to those not part of my missions.” his eyes were wide open that looked as though they were grinning “So, I would like you to leave, now.” he finished with frustration in his voice.

 

It was unlike Matt to do what he did next. But he simply looked down in defeat only to stand up from his chair and walk out the exit behind him.

 

“Well then, now we’re finally alone.” he said looking at me, grinning.

 

“What do you want?” I asked him, leaning against the cell door with my arms hanging through the bars.

 

“I want to give you a chance at redemption, Johnny boy. You’ve had a rough go,” he said with sorrow which angered me after remembering the mental suffering I went through. Losing both Alexis & Christopher. Luckily he was within reach of my arms and I quickly grabbed both sides of his collar and violently brought him up against the iron bars.

 

“You… know NOTHING about me,” I replied directly in his face. He was unscathed by my actions.

 

“Really? Nothing? Now that is an under exaggeration, Johnny. Losing your friend Christopher. Nearly losing your recent friend Julian. And now you’re forced to live a life of seclusion… from the woman you love. That, is nothing?” he said giving me that look like I was insane.

 

I reluctantly released him and removed my interlocked gaze from his eyes. In realization that he was more than I thought he was, “What do you want?” I asked, looking back up at him.

 

He grinned, “I want you to join a specialized task force. With training, of course. All I want, is to give certain people a better life. To do good for this land, and the ones they serve.”

 

The way he said that last part ‘and the ones they serve’. It was suspicious and made me curious. But if he wanted to help me get out jail, then I figured this was my chance I decided to try and bargain with him.

 

“If you’re getting me out of here, then I got two questions.”

 

He lifted his eyebrow in intent of listening while grinning, “Yes?”

 

“First thing, I want my criminal records wiped clean from existence.”

 

“Done,” he said with simplicity.

 

“And second,” I slightly hesitated before finishing, “I want you to promise me that I’ll see Alexis again.”

 

“Very well,” he said with excitement, “Let me just throw the terms on the table so you don’t feel there’s any strings attached. You get your life back, and more. And it is crucially important that you see your beloved Alexis again,” I nodded in response before he continued, “While I let you out and take you to a secret military facility where you will be trained like no other soldier. It will be difficult, but worth it in the end.” he finished, still grinning.

 

“Sounds like that’s about it. But one question,”

 

“Yes?”

 

“What’s in it for you?”

 

“A little… political privilege, if you will. My competitors and I are having… a little game, you might say. Whoever recruits more than the others, gets noticed more,” he answered. After I gave him an understanding nod, he pulled out an old light brown paper scroll with bronze points on the ends. He slipped the scroll through the bars and unrolled it. It was only a few feet long with the majority of it filled with faded cursive writing that was nearly impossible to read. But the important part was the long line beneath the terms on the scroll. The man used his other hand to pull out a casual black office pen to me. As I got my hand situated around the pen and was just about to start signing my name, something pierced the skin on my thumb and a drop of blood fell on the scroll beneath the line. The angle of the paper made the drop run down an inch before being entirely absorbed by the paper. But the weird thing was the trail of the blood moved on its own to the main drop, leaving just a simple stain at the bottom of the paper.

 

“Ah ah, that will do,” he said pulling the scroll away and rolling it up while taking the pen from me, “Pleasure doing business with you, Johnny. I’ll let the guard know you’re free to go. You’ll have six hours to do whatever your heart’s desire is to do what you want with your beloved Alexis before my boys pick you up. And don’t worry, I know she’s still here in Hell’s Kitchen. I saw her in a hotel on my way in on W42nd Street and 11th Street.. See you later Johnny,” the lights began to flicker again as I looked down at my thumb. But the second I looked up, the man was gone and the lights went back to normal. I tried to look down the hallway, but he wasn’t even just rounding the corner. Matt walked in on the phone with someone.

 

“All right. Yes, sir,” he said before hanging up.

 

“Who was that?” I asked, looking at his small red flip phone.

 

“The head of the organization that man was from. He said that, for classified reasons, you’ve been cleared to go free. I guess that’s it then. I mean, they already notified the Warden of your… former prison and cleared everything up. I’m honestly a little disappointed but, you’re free to go John,” he said pulling out his cell door key and unlocking it.

 

I chuckled that he was disappointed, “Sorry for the inconvenience of you switching places.”

 

“Ah it’s fine, the pay is better there anyways,” he said chuckling at his own joke, “Well I guess this is a win-win situation. You get to go free and I get a better job, in a way. But anyways, it’s nice to meet you not as a prisoner, John.” he said holding out his hand like the polite man he was.


 

“Pleasure’s mine, Matt,” I said shaking his hand in return.

 

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your real name? ‘Stormcrow’ sounds a little made up. Almost like you chose that as like your vigilante name,”

 

“James,” I lied. I never liked my last name so I said my middle name as my last name.

 

“C’mon. Don’t lie to me dude,” he said chuckling, “I can just tell that’s not your real last name. I understand if you don’t like it but at least feed my curiosity.”

 

“Fine. You convinced me. My real name is actually… Jonathan Ward,”

 

“Ward? Well it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s the same as the Republican Senator of Massachusetts. So that’s something interesting about it at least,” he said.

 

I chuckled, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Well Matt, it was nice knowing you, but I guess I gotta get going then if I’m free,”

 

“Yeah,” he replied, “Nice knowing you to John. See you around?”

 

“I’ll stop by every now and then,” I said walking through the exit behind him.

 

It felt good to be free again, despite being imprisoned for a few days. The fresh air smelled of sea water from the ocean breeze blowing in from the docs. I walked through the back alley and turned onto 11th street. The building was recently built so it felt weird coming out of a new building onto the streets I grew up on. I walked South towards the intersection the man told me about. It was strange how he didn’t even tell me his name, but at the moment it didn’t matter to me. It was a short walk to West 42nd but when I eventually got there, I saw the hotel the man was talking about. ‘Margaret’s Motel’ was the name of the place. The name was built from yellow neon lights in a fancy cursive to match the faded yellow walls of the old building. I remembered coming here as a child and drawing on the walls with bright yellow crayons. It sounded ironic to draw on a yellow wall with yellow crayons, but that’s why I did it. I used to find it really fun to draw on the walls since they were so faded and dark, you could easily tell what I had drawn. Even in broad daylight.

 

I quickly crossed the streets, ignoring the people that didn’t see the red light and almost hit me, and walked up the old but sturdy wooden steps. The glass door rang the tiny bronze bell when I walked in. The interior was surprisingly better on the inside than on the outside. The silver walls almost gleamed in the sunlight shining through the windows. There was a red and yellow rug with a complex yet simple pattern of diamonds put together to make the shape of a larger diamond. To the left was the clerk’s desk with a door leading to the owner’s dining room and kitchen. While to the right of the entrance was a bathroom with a spruce wood door and stairs leading to the upper levels and the guest’s rooms. In the clerk’s desk was an old Hispanic woman. Probably in her late eighties or mid seventies. Her gray hair was wrapped into a bun on the back of her head with a pair of glasses with the string attached  resting on the bridge of her nose with beads on the lines hanging around her neck. She was focused on writing on the paper that she didn’t even hear the bell ring when I walked in.

 

“Um… hello?” I asked, walking up to her desk.

 

“Oh! Hello dear,” her voice was high pitched and sounded like one of those stereotypical grandmas on tv shows, “Sorry dear, I was doing some paperwork. Now, can I get you a room? We’ve only got one room occupied by a lovely young lady. So we’re open to anyone!” she said excited, trying to get me to rent a room.

 

“Um, actually I was here to visit someone,” I said, assuming that the young lady who rented the room was Alexis, “ She goes by the name, Alexis.”

 

“Oh yes, dear. She’s in room 212. Second floor on the left,” she said smiling and returning to her paperwork. I walked up the wooden flight of stairs past the first floor and stopped when I reached the second. The short hall had four sets of doors. On the right were the odds while the left side had the evens. The walls where the rooms were kept no longer had silver walls but a dark shade of gray like smoke from a train. The doorframes were made from dark oak wood while the doors were made of spruce wood. The bronze handles sparkled like they were made of gold as the sunlight shone on them through the clean windows. I walked down the short hallway while looking at the door numbers. 206… 208… 210… and finally 212.

 

“This is it,” I whispered to myself.

 

I knocked on the door. There was a moment of silence before I heard Alexis on the other side.

 

“Please, I’m not in the mood right now Margaret,” her voice muffled from the door.

 

“Room service,” I replied in a playful voice. I stood there a minute before the door finally opened, and there she was. Her hair was still perfect as ever and she was wearing a short pair of light blue jeans and a gray tank top. Her face was a pit of mixed emotions. She was confused and yet happy while she also wanted to deny the fact that I was here. But I knew she recognized me and just simply couldn’t believe it.

 

“J… John?” she asked.

 

“Yeah. It’s me,” I said smiling.

 

“Come in,” she said hastily realizing I was still outside.

 

I walked in to see a perfectly clean room as though it wasn’t used at all. The only thing that was different was her packed suitcase resting on the table and her body print on the blankets from resting. The room seemed small but managed to have two queen sized beds in it without having to squeeze your way around. The only thing in the room besides the bed was a black box tv, round wooden table with a couple of cushioned chairs and the AC in the window. I sat down on one of the beds across from the tv as Alexis shut the door. The second she locked it, she immediately ran over and jumped into my arms, knocking me down onto the bed.

 

“I missed you,” she whispered, hugging me tightly.

 

I wrapped my arms around her waist tightly. I never wanted to let go, “I missed you more,” I replied, kissing her forehead.

 

“But… how did you get out?” she asked, getting off and sitting next to me.

 

“This is gonna seem weird. But, a man literally came and recruited me into some secret military branch. Now, I know what you’re gonna say. ‘I should have just lived life in prison and not signed up for a secret military organization that could get me killed.’ I understand. But the man said I could see you before his men picked me up. He even had all my criminal records wiped from existence,” I explained.

 

“Shh,” she said, putting her finger up against my lips, “I don’t care. As long as you’re free.” she finished while smiling.

 

I smiled back, “The man gave me six hours before his men would come pick me up. How do you wanna spend it?” I asked.

 

She interlocked her arm with mine, “Let’s pick up where we left off. We have time to walk to Central Park.”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” I replied, smiling.

 

* * * * *

 

We left the apartment soon after while trying to avoid Ms. Margaret from trying to get me to rent a room. The walk took us about half an hour to get to Central Park. But when we got there it was the same as the last time we were here. A two and a half mile long park with a big reservoir in the middle. On the far end was the smaller section which had the majority of it filled with thick oak trees and was the smaller side of the park. On the side closest to us, there was more open space and a massive field where dozens of people would just rest all over the place on their blankets they brought to lie in the sun. But on the far end of Central Park, in the small open area of the smaller section, was a small mound. And on that mound had a stone sidewalk leading over it. But at the top, was our spot. At the top of the mound was the same wooden bench with iron legs. We walked along the side of the park together until we reached the bench. It looked as though nobody had sat in it since the time we left. But if anyone did, then it wasn’t for long and it would have been a one time only deal. We sat down next to each other on the bench which faced out towards the majority of Central Park. Giving us a beautiful view of the park and a good portion of the cities. We sat there for about an hour with my arm wrapped around Alexis while she rested her head on my shoulder.

 

“Feels like old times,” I said, breaking the silence.

 

“Shut up,” she said chuckling.

 

“Anything else you wanna do? Before I have to leave?” I asked, looking down at her.

 

“No. I just want to relax with you,”

 

I smiled and rubbed her shoulder. Despite the screams of happiness and laughter from the other side of the park, the silence had welcomed me and I fell asleep, my arm still on Alexis’ shoulder. My head rested itself on Alexis’ as I fell asleep. Enjoying the thought that my life was finally going somewhere good. I felt that everything was going right for once. But I was wrong.

 

* * * * *

 

The dream I was in had first astonished me by the sight I had seen. I was in some sort of massive empty void with a violet shade and the far reaches filled with a mixture of all colors. Throughout the void were what looked like small two story house sized planets all attached by a series of purple wormhole shaped arms. The entire void was like some sort of giant bacteria with the planets each looking like different wastelands covered in different colored environments. The green spots looked like alien blood that emitted green gas that almost looked poisonous while the reddish orange spots looked like magma straight from the core that spewed out red particles like sparks in a forge and even a dark gray section was filled with dozens of long and pointed pieces of obsidian that crossed each other making it look like a shadowy wasteland of giant X’s. The varieties were endless. But what was strange was that in the center of it all, I was just there. Not standing on one of the planets but just floating there. ‘What kind of dream is this?’ I thought to myself.

 

“Hahahahahahaha,” a strange and deep voice laughed behind me. As the being began to laugh, it sounded like the dry screech of a dying bird which slowly turned into a deep voice much like the mix of the growl of a massive being as an echoing rumble in caverns.

 

I turned around to see the most frightening image of this entire dream which, sure enough, revealed a massive being. Behind me was the massive face of a being in which I was only the size of his eye. The edge of face face looked like his face was popping out of a lake with the very fabric of the dream turned to liquid and it was peering outward to watch me and his face was the strangest thing I had ever see in my life. His eyes were a bright pink and looked as though you were staring straight into the cosmos which shined between his eyelids with light blue iris’ and black pupils, but his skin was a much darker color. His skin was that of a purple grape but almost to the point of pitch black and his skin continuously rippled away like water from an imaginary line that would run down the center of his face. From what I was able to see, the being had no ears which was the most noticeable feature about him besides his skin and eyes.

 

“You, mortal,” he said looking down at me, “Embrace the image of your future prison and master!” he said chuckling.

 

“Where am I? Who are you?” I asked. My voice in the dream was still normal, only it echoed like that of the giant face I was speaking to.

 

“I… am DORMAMMU!!!” he raised his voice which pushed me back a few feet, “RULER OF THE DARK DIMENSION!!! In which you are in the presence of now.” he said with his face moving towards me.

 

“This is just a dream,” I said to myself unable to believe what kind of dream I was having.

 

“This is no dream, mortal. But me using my power to communicate with you in your sleep, mortal,” Dormammu explained.

 

“Even if this is real, why would you want to contact me?” I asked.

 

“To bargain,” he said, chuckling.

 

I knew it. I was somehow drugged and was having insane hallucinations. But some part of me decided to play along with it, “All right, Dormammu. What is your bargain?” I asked.

 

“Give me your service and loyalty, and I shall grant you immense power. But… you must abandon your family and loved ones. If you do this I can assure you, the Dark Dimension will soon enough become your home… rather than your prison.” Dormammu said trying to scare me into working for him.

 

I didn’t know what to think about this, but I knew that even if it was real, I didn’t want to risk my life anymore than I already had by taking the man’s deal from the prison. Besides, I wasn’t in the mood to work for a giant face that looked like I took a hit from a Mary Jane.

 

“And if I refuse?” I asked.

 

“Then you will live a pointless life of being nothing more than an outcast. And sooner or later, fate will curse you to eternal imprisonment here. With me. You will be trapped for all eternity. To never hear any voice but my own. To feel no presence but my own. To see no other dimension… but my own.” he said, leaning in until I was directly in front of his right eye.

 

“I don’t care how my life ends. But it won’t be here with a floating face,” I replied.

 

He groaned with disgust “Fool. Very well. But know this mortal, I have peered into your future. And you are wrong about one thing,”

 

“And what would that be?” I asked out of curiosity.

 

Before he could say anything else, he was cut off as the vision faded and I woke up to Alexis shaking my arm.

 

“John,” Alexis said, continuously shaking my arm.

 

I woke in an instant, “Hey, what’s up?” I asked, sitting up from my slouched position.

 

“You were mumbling,” she replied, smiling.

 

“Must’ve been a… weird dream,” I said zoning out as I thought of the “vision” that was given to me by this so called Dormammu, “How long was I asleep?”

 

“For a few hours. I zoned out as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if those men are looking for you to pick you up by now,” she said, interlocking her hand with mine.

 

It was then that we heard a loud and solid car horn from behind us. We looked back to see a black 2016 Cadillac SUV with two white men in suits and sunglasses standing next to the vehicle on the sidewalk a few yards behind us with their legs spread shoulder width apart and with their hands held on top of each other in front of their stomachs. The front passenger window right behind one of the men started rolling down and the face behind it was the man who got me released.

 

“Come on Lover Boy!” he called out, chuckling.

 

“Go,” Alexis said as I looked back at her.

 

“Keep in touch. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, but I’ll come back,” I said kissing her forehead as she leaned in to hug me tightly.

 

“I will wait for you,” she said as she began to tear up, “Do you still have the phone I gave you?” she asked.

 

“It was lost the night I got arrested.” I explained, “The jacket you gave me is probably still there. Did they show it on the news?”

 

“Yeah, they did. I’ll go check it out,” she said.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Be safe,” I told her, hugging her one last time before I stood up and walked down towards the SUV and sat in the rear passenger seat. The guards walked around and got in through the otherside. I looked outside the window to see Alexis sitting on the bench facing me. As the SUV started moving I could vaguely see her lips move saying ‘I love you’. I wanted to respond but knew shouldn’t see it. I turned to face the man in front of me who had turned back to face me while holding one of the McDonald’s fries containers filled with hot French Fries.

 

“Frie? They’re French,” he said chuckling as he offered me food.

 

At the moment I wasn’t really hungry so I lifted up my hand and shook my head, “No thank you.”

 

“Eh, suit yourself,” he said eating the fry.

 

The trip didn’t last long as we had went to a small airport with private jets filling the small warehouse shaped building. Outside of the old building was a small red private jet circular windows perfectly sized for your head and it’s steps ready for us to enter the plane. The man with the crystal skull cane was the only one that got out besides me. He left the rest of his french fries for the driver as we walked from the SUV into the private jet. Inside it was just as you would expect out of a private jet. Velcro seats lined on one side in a row and spinning seats with a small table on the other side with a bucket full of ice cubes, champagne & champagne glasses. The plane looked huge from the outside but I almost felt I had to duck walking around on the inside. I went and sat in one of the spinning seats and looked out the window while rubbing my index finger along the dry part of my bottom lip. I acted as though I was nervous when in reality, I just wanted to get this over with. The man with the cane sat in the chair opposite of me while still holding his cane in his hands.

 

“Pilot!” he called out in a playful voice, “We’re ready,” he finished, grinning.

 

The pilot nodded back in response. As the engines roared to life and the pilots flew us off the runway, I decided to try and sneak in another nap for the plane ride as I really didn’t want to have a conversation with this man sitting across from me. Luckily I was after getting comfortable by resting my head against the velcro seat. And this time there was no interruption from “Dormammu.”

 

* * * * *

 

When I woke up, the daylight seemed to be a lot closer to noon than it was when we took off. My guess was that we were somewhere westward in the US if not all the on the west coast. The man with the cane was standing at the plane entrance just standing there, looking out at something. From what I could see out the windows, we had landed in some sort of desert surrounded by mountains. My guess was that we were somewhere in the Nevada Desert. I stood up from the chair and came up next to the man. The only thing was saw was the simple yet beautiful scenery of the setting sun turning the light brown sand into a fiery orange with small shadows casted from the few dust devils that spotted the area. The western part of the desert valley looked like the bottom half of a shark’s jaw from the shape of the shadows.

 

“Where are we?” I asked after examining the scene for a moment.

 

“Near our little base of operations in Nevada. Oh, and I have something for you Johnny,” he said handing to me a black leather jacket that was folded over his arms as he rested his hands on the handle of his cane, “Figured you’d want this back after the incident.” he said as I took the jacket from him.

 

For some reason it felt vaguely familiar like somehow I knew it was a specific jacket. But I couldn’t think of one from any ‘incident’  until I finally remembered what he was talking about and it finally kicked in. This was my leather jacket that Alexis had given me on the day she moved away. I must have left it in the yacht the night I was arrested.

 

“How did you get this?” I asked.

 

“Recruitment is part of my job. I wanted to do it in your little shack, but then that’s when things went sideways. So I decided to take a little look around the place once the police had left to see if I could find anything to help me out in finding you Johnny. Besides, I knew you liked the jacket, Johnny boy. Your welcome,” he said while giving me his usual grin.

 

“Thanks,” I responded.

 

It was then that I could see in the distance and built into the mountain, was a man made stone structure. I couldn’t see much of it, but what I could see was another black SUV driving forward. Most likely to pick us up.

 

“Why land in the middle of the valley?” I asked.

 

“The heat blocks the satellites from seeing us. It’s always hot here. A constant blind spot against any satellite. We have no electrical connection to the outside world and do everything ourselves,” he said confident from his genius, “And the base is right outside that heat shield. So if we were to land out there, the government would find us. And that wouldn’t be good for business.”

 

I looked off at the incoming SUV and thought to myself, ‘Cut off from the outside world.’

 

“Now don’t you worry Johnny boy. We can still send messages to your dear Alexis via mail,” he said patting my back as the SUV approached.

 

“Okay,” I said while putting the black leather jacket on over my white t-shirt I still had one from the night of my arrest.

 

We got in the SUV and traveled to the base that’s built into the mountain. Which brought the question to mind.

 

“If the base was outside of the heat zone then how come the satellites couldn’t see us as we leave the heat zone to enter the base?” I asked the man with the cane who sat in front of me in the passenger seat like before.

 

“The base used to be from the actual military. A bomb shelter if you will. But eventually the government saw its location obsolete. So they abandoned it. When our organization was founded, we also found this location five years ago. We’ve used it as our main base of operations ever since. The reason we use it is because it’s meant to hide anything inside from any satellites in orbit or spy planes. Very useful for keeping secrets,” he finished his explanation by looking back at me and raising his eyebrows in a sarcastic way.

 

When we reached the base, it was just as he had described it before they had moved in. The man and I got out while the driver drove around the side to enter the garage he must have come out of when he left to pick us up. The man with the cane and I walked in through the front entrance which was missing the door. The entire base was made of concrete with windows that were just empty squares. The entire building was no larger then a one story house which was completely empty on the inside despite two rows of office desks which used to be behind each other like a squadron of soldiers. Only, when we walked in, the desks were flipped and tossed in different directions with drawers open and papers lying everywhere. Above there were a series of lights that were broken with weak flashes of lights. But what was strange was that the walls were practically littered with bullet holes with bullet shells lacing the ground everywhere you step. At the end of the room was an elevator door which seemed to be in perfect condition despite a few bullet holes on the doors.

 

“What happened here?” I asked as we entered the elevator which was perfectly renewed and looked brand new. With grates on every wall except the doors and roof with blue lights behind them.

 

“War, Johnny boy. The “military” that used to occupy this place was a secret organization named Hydra. Our business partners. And the men that raided this place were tactically assaulting Hydra & the US to try and break them. So that they could control the US. And eventually the world,” he explained as we started going down in the elevator.

 

“Who were they? The ones that took over this place?” I asked.

 

“They call themselves… SHIELD. They raided this place as it used to be filled with important information. But we eventually took it back. But while we had also lost the information to SHIELD, we both had taken far too many casualties to try and keep control of this place. Well… that’s what we had them think. Now, we continue to grow in secret. Slowly building our strength back to strike back. We eventually invented a serum that gives humans inborn abilities,” he explained with joy in his voice.

 

“So you’re building an army of these… inhumans?” I asked, deciding to simply call the men he spoke of as inhumans since it seemed fitting and it was easy to remember.

 

“Oh no, Johnny Boy,” he said not wanting me to get the wrong idea, “We’re building an army of super soldiers. First, we recruit our soldiers and train them to be the best in any form of combat. Then, we make them better by giving them powers!” he was really excited by this point.

 

“Interesting. So when does training start?” I asked as the elevator hit the bottom.

 

“Now,” he said turning back to grin at me as the elevator doors opened to reveal a large hallway of hundreds of troops in tan skin tight polo shirts and brown camouflage pants with pistols holstered on their wastes loading weapons and ammunition into wooden crates from the likes of which I have never seen before. Some of them even looked like they were from another planet. They all stopped what they were doing see the newcomer. Even though I felt awkward being the center of attention as the new recruit, I knew I would have to learn to suffice with the feeling.


I took a deep breath as I stepped out of the elevator, “Here we go,”

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